Originally from Pomfret Connecticut, Warren Lyon Wheaton first arrived in the prairies west of Chicago in May of 1837. Soon after that Warren along with his brother Jesse started purchasing and plowing land that had been claimed by their friend and fellow Connecticuter Erastus Gary, the one of the first people of European heritage to settle in the area. Because of a generous yet shrewd donation of land to build railroad tracks, the brothers ended up with the area they lived in being named after them in 1849. When the Wesleyans needed land to build on the brothers again donated land, this time to the Illinois Institute. Later when the Institute was in danger of being dissolved, newly appointed president Jonathan Blanchard approached Warren with the idea of donating more land to the school in exchange for the honor of having the school renamed after him. Warren was on the Wheaton College Board of Trustees for 49 years, from its inception as the Illinois Institute until his death in 1903.